Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Musings on Conversion of Life

Yesterday I posted all manner of things, ranging from a sermon preached by a pope from the most illustrious pulpit in Christendom through the spectrum to a painfully personal letter intended to be seen by only one pair of eyes in the whole world. Yet, all of them share the same cry; the cry of contrition, the yearning for restoration, for the way of God.

I know that cry also, for I have cried it. I have sinned. I've done really dumb things I knew I shouldn't do. I've avoided doing quite a few of the smart things I know I'm supposed to do ---- and I know that in all of this I'm not alone. Every single day I have to turn, every day reform my life, and every day renew my determination to live the holy Gospel.

Every single day. Simply. Singly. Submittedly. Watchful, lest I fall (again).

The very first signs that the original sin had happened were attempting to hide from God, and then, blaming someone else. But I'm supposed to be redeemed, and to be behaving like I'm redeemed, so I should have nothing to do with either one of them.

Hiding from God just plain isn't possible. God knows everything anyhow. So why waste precious time or energy even trying to do that? Plus, I'm in the same bind as Jeremiah ---- God is, truly and awe-fully, inside me, and will not let me rest ignoring Him; He _will_ be honored and glorified and confessed, His truth _will_ be spoken. Here's how Jeremiah put it:
You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped;
You were too strong for me, and You triumphed. ....
I say to myself, I will not mention Him,
I will speak in His name no more.
But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.

And blaming someone else is the clear work of the evil one. To keep us deceived, to make us squabble, to divide us into continually fighting factions, is that abysmal one's doings, it's how he gets his jollies. Satan isn't called the Accuser of the Brethren for nothing. This blaming game I just have to flee, as seriously as one flees wildfire or tornado or pestilence. Lord, keep me away, far away, from this. Protect me, Lord, from ever accusing anyone other than myself of anything. Help me to be honest in everything, and humble, and ever emptier of the stuff I collect and cling to instead of Your grace. Make me empty, Lord, then fill me with Yourself, Your love, Your grace.

Finally, the prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian, to which I clung like a life ring through our little local crisis and still hold dear:
O Lord and Master of my life,
take from me the spirit of sloth, meddling, lust of power, and idle talk;
but give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant me to see my own sins and not to judge my brother,
for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.


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